KwaZulu-Natal officials say 10 liquor outlets have been shut down in the last week for violating lockdown regulations. The province has over 8 000 liquor license holders.

In the last week, the KZN Liquor Authority and law enforcement agencies inspected more than 740 liquor outlets in the province.

Spokesperson for the provincial Department of Economic Development, Ndabezinhle Sibiya, says the sale of expired liquor is a common area of contravention.

“The sale of expired liquor is on the common areas of contravention that has been picked up by the inspectors. However, according to MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube she is encouraged by the attitude of traders they have shown some level of co-operation with the inspectors’ and the law enforcement and agencies. A total of 747 licensed premises have been inspected here in KZN over the past week.”

The department of Economic Development in the province on Monday said it will keep a close watch on liquor license holders, to ensure they follow lockdown regulations with regards to the sale of liquor.

In the video below, the Liquor Traders Association says an illegal alcohol market has emerged:

The Level 3 of the lockdown allows the selling of alcohol from 9am to 5pm on weekdays between Monday and Thursday.

In a statement, the Provincial Department of Economic Development said the KwaZulu-Natal Liquor Authority has informed license holders about regulations governing the sale of alcohol during COVID-19 Level 3.

The department says transgressors might have their licenses suspended for the rest of the lockdown or for three months.

The department will also dispatch inspectors to randomly check if the lockdown regulations are adhered to.

In the video below, the liquor industry welcomes the lifting of the ban on the sale of alcohol:

Ramaphosa calls for responsible drinking

On Friday, President Cyril Ramaphosa expressed concern about the surge in alcohol-related hospital admissions since the resumption of liquor sales.

The President has called on South Africans to drink responsibly.

“It was always going to be risky and difficult development to loosen and lift the ban on alcohol. Unfortunately, we as South Africans, our alcohol consumption is one of the highest in the world and during the time of Level 5 and 4, we saw alcohol consumption had gone down and drunk driving accidents had almost come to a stop; there were none.

Hospital beds had become empty of patients with trauma and as opened, we suddenly saw a spike in the utilisation of hospital beds. It was always going to be a risk and we’re not contemplating closing for alcohol as yet. Obviously, we’re hoping and calling on all South Africans to behave in a manner that will take into account the rights of other people to health and to healthcare.”